A document describes the Air Force Research Laboratory's Demonstration and Science Experiments (DSX) mission, dedicated to research needed to advance the ability to operate spacecraft in the harsh radiation environment of medium earth orbit (MEO). The DSX spacecraft, to be launched in late 2009 into an orbit ranging in altitude from 6,000 to 12,000 km, is designed to carry instruments pertinent to studies in three categories:

  • Wave Particle Interaction Experiment (WPIx) — Research on the physics of very-low-frequency (VLF) transmissions in the magnetosphere and characterization of the feasibility of using natural and artificial VLF waves to reduce space radiation;
  • Space Weather Experiment (SWx) — Characterizing and modeling of the radiation environment in MEO; and
  • Space Environmental Effects (SFx) — Research on, and characterization of, effects of space weather on spacecraft electronics and materials.

The DSX mission uses a modular design that provides for launch either as a primary satellite on a conventional launch rocket or as a secondary payload on a larger rocket. Another key feature of the design is a dedicated payload computer, which obviates the design of avionics to conform to custom payload data interfaces, enabling the rapid procurement of a standard spacecraft data bus.

This work was done by Gregory Spanjers, James Winter, Martin Tolliver, Gregory Ginet, and Bronislaw Dichter of the Air Force Research Laboratory; Aaron Adler and Jason Guarnieri of Jackson and Tull, Inc.; and Dan Cohen of Sequoia Technologies, Inc. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at www.defensetechbriefs.com/tsp under the Physical Sciences category. AFRL-0030

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
AFRL’s Demonstration and Science Experiments Mission

(reference AFRL-0030) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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This article first appeared in the August, 2007 issue of Defense Tech Briefs Magazine.

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